Grace Collins Boddie was born on January 15, 1917 in Charlotte County, Virginia, to Flavius Overton and Grace Comfort Crews Collins. Gracie Collins graduated with honors from Drakes Branch High School, and Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia (now Longwood University).
During her senior year at Longwood in 1943, she entered the U.S. Naval Reserve College Program, and upon graduation from Longwood was College was assigned to Officer Candidate School at Mt Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Upon her graduation, Collins was commissioned as an Ensign, and assigned to Uptown Hunter College in New York City. At Uptown Hunter, Collins taught recruits for the U.S. Navy. When released from active duty, she remained in the Naval Reserves until 1954 and attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
After the war, Gracie Collins married Richard Franklin Boddie, and moved to the city of Durham in Durham County, North Carolina. While she was in her final years in the Naval Reserves, now Gracie Boddie entered Duke University School of Law. After graduating from Duke Law School, Gracie Boddie served for two years as staff attorney for the Duke Law School Legal Aid Clinic.
Later, she worked as Comptroller and Director of Scientific Services for the U.S. Army Research Office on the Duke University Campus. Boddie later joined the staff of the Research Triangle Institute, where she served as Vice-President and Senior Counsel. Grace Boddie died on August 23, 2009 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina.
This oral history interview was digitized through the support by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-00-17-0034-17).
Boddie discusses her service at Hunter College; how she spent her spare time during this time; and her knowledge of the general war situation for WWII prior to her military service. She also discusses her time in Washington, D.C.; why she decided to go to law school; and her service in the Naval Reserves after WWII.
Boddies discusses her perception of discipline during her service in the U.S. Navy; attending USO (United Service Organizations) dances; how she spent her spare time during her service; her opinion of Hollywood portrayals of WWII; her marriage; and why she chose to retire from the military. She also discusses her experience as a woman in the military, and provides advice for contemporary women entering military service.